Florida Senate - 2016                              (NP)    SB 14
       By Senator Altman
       16-00046-16                                             201614__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill
    3         Lynn Aversa; providing an appropriation to compensate
    4         the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa for Dr.
    5         Aversa’s death as a result of the negligence of the
    6         Department of Transportation; requiring the Executive
    7         Office of the Governor to establish spending authority
    8         from unappropriated trust fund balances of the
    9         department for compensation to the Estate of Dr.
   10         Sherrill Lynn Aversa; providing attorney fees and
   11         costs and a limitation on such fees and costs;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14         WHEREAS, on June 21, 1999, an employee of the Department of
   15  Transportation was driving a department vehicle northbound on
   16  Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County, and
   17         WHEREAS, on that same day, Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa, having
   18  completed an interview at the University of South Florida
   19  Medical School, was traveling southbound on Interstate 75, and
   20         WHEREAS, according to departmental policy, employees of the
   21  department are required to ensure that all items used by the
   22  department and stored on a department vehicle are appropriately
   23  secured, and
   24         WHEREAS, one such item used by the department was a 12-foot
   25  extension ladder stored on the roof of the truck driven by the
   26  department employee and the employee failed to ensure that the
   27  ladder was secured to the vehicle before leaving the
   28  department’s maintenance yard, and
   29         WHEREAS, as the employee traveled northbound on Interstate
   30  75 in the department vehicle, the extension ladder flew off the
   31  roof into the northbound traffic traveling behind it, and
   32         WHEREAS, the driver of the vehicle traveling behind the
   33  department vehicle swerved to avoid hitting the ladder and, as a
   34  result of the swerving movement, lost control of her vehicle,
   35  veered to the left, crossed the Interstate 75 median, and struck
   36  Dr. Aversa’s vehicle, killing Dr. Aversa instantly, and
   37         WHEREAS, as a result of these events, the Estate of Dr.
   38  Sherrill Lynn Aversa brought suit against the department for its
   39  negligence in causing the death of Dr. Aversa, and
   40         WHEREAS, after 3 years of litigation, the department
   41  admitted liability for the accident and agreed to settle the
   42  case, and
   43         WHEREAS, the parties agreed to a consent judgment in the
   44  amount of $797,500 solely against the department, with no
   45  finding of comparative negligence against any other party, and
   46         WHEREAS, the department has paid $100,000 to the Estate of
   47  Dr. Aversa under the statutory limits of liability set forth in
   48  s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, NOW, THEREFORE,
   50  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   52         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   53  found and declared to be true.
   54         Section 2. The Executive Office of the Governor is directed
   55  to establish spending authority from unappropriated trust fund
   56  balances of the Department of Transportation in the amount of
   57  $697,500 to a new category titled “Relief: Estate of Dr.
   58  Sherrill Lynn Aversa” as compensation to the Estate of Dr.
   59  Sherrill Lynn Aversa for the death of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa,
   60  which amount includes attorney fees and costs.
   61         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   62  a warrant in favor of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa in
   63  the amount of $697,500 upon funds of the Department of
   64  Transportation not otherwise encumbered, and the Chief Financial
   65  Officer is directed to pay the same sum out of such funds in the
   66  State Treasury.
   67         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of
   68  Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   69  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   70  compensation for this excess judgment claim and for all other
   71  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
   72  described in this act which resulted in the death of Dr.
   73  Sherrill Lynn Aversa. The total amount paid for attorney fees,
   74  lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to
   75  this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under
   76  this act.
   77         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.